31 Days of Horror: Day 5 – The Collector (2009)


Director: Marcus Dunstan

Cast: Josh Stewart, Michael Reilly Burke, Andrea Roth, Juan Fernandez, Karley Scott Collins, Madeline Zima, Robert Wisdom

Screenplay: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan

90 mins. Rated R for pervasive sadistic bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.


In The Collector, petty crook Arkin (Josh Stewart, The Dark Knight Rises, Transcendence) breaks into the house of the Chase family to steal enough property to pay off his debts to loan shark Roy (Robert Wisdom, TV’s Nashville, Face/Off). While inside, he comes across the realization that the Chase family is at home with him, each one trapped by a sadistic killer, The Collector (Juan Fernandez, A Man Apart, In Hell), who plans on kidnapping one of them, and killing the rest.

The Collector is the feature directorial debut of Marcus Dunstan, who wrote the script with frequent screenwriting partner Patrick Melton (Saw IV, Piranha 3DD). The plot of the film is intriguing but ultimately unrealized based  on the budgetary difficulties that the production team fought. The cast in the film seem to have no actually characters to be, especially Arkin, an unlikable lead who is known only for theft in the first act of the film. Tough to feel for a character like that. The Chase family is made up of cookie-cutter family members including rich husband, adoring wife, precious child, and whorish daughter. The character of The Collector is interesting, but I feel like as an audience, I need a motive. I need some understanding for why. On one level, though, it works pretty good not to know. I understand a sequel was released, but I haven’t gotten around to it.

The lighting in the film is another fault. I hate a movie that can’t seem to brighten up the visuals occasionally. This film is just plain too dark.

Something interesting I discovered about The Collector is that it was originally a prequel to Saw. The two writers behind the screenplay also penned the latter four Saw entries, and when the idea for a prequel was turned down, the script was rewritten as a new film. I would be very intrigued to read the proposed Saw prequel, being a major fans of the franchise.


Ultimately, The Collector is a mildly enjoyable time if you aren’t expecting too much in terms of finer film qualities. Stay for the post-credits scene.



-Kyle A. Goethe


For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

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